Column Opinion

Nigeria’s Complicit, Complaisant, And Complacent Government

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

We know they are lying,

They know they are lying,

They know we know they are lying,

We know they know we know they are lying,

But they are still lying.

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

Complicit

1. involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong.

Complaisant

1. willing to please others or to accept what they do or say without protest.

Complacent

1. showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.

Once upon a time, there was a village of people who lived in handcrafted wood houses. And like other villages in this era, fires were a very real and present danger at all times. One small flame could burn the whole village into ashes within a few short hours. So, the villagers developed a clever firefighting system.

A rotating group of volunteers kept watch over the village from a lookout tower at all times, day and night. At the first sight of smoke, a volunteer would turn on a loud siren that was only ever sounded when warning the villagers about a fire. The moment the siren sounded, all villagers would drop everything and run to a pre-assigned location for firefighting.

Young, strong women and men would pump water as fast as possible from the village wells, teenage boys and girls would fill big buckets with water as it was pumped up from the well, and all the rest of the villagers would occupy designated locations and ultimately form human chains leading from the wells to the fire. The bravest women and men would stand next to the fire and heave buckets of water until the fire was extinguished.

One day a traveller from a distant village heard the siren and asked someone on the street about it. The woman – who was rushing toward her designated location – quickly explained, “Whenever there’s a fire, the siren is sounded and the fire is extinguished!”

The traveller was amazed, and decided to bring this remarkable siren technology back to his own village, which also had dreadful problems with fires. Days later, he returned to his village with a siren that perfectly matched the one he witness in action on the lookout tower. He gathered all his villagers together, and he said, “You don’t need to fear fire anymore, my friends. I have found a new way to extinguish it. Watch closely, and I shall demonstrate.”

The traveller lit a large bale of hay on fire that was sitting next to his own cottage. The flames quickly began to spread closer and closer to his home. Then he took out the siren he’d acquired and sounded it. The fire only grew in its intensity, so he sounded it again. The fire continued to grow rapidly.

“Just be patient, everyone! It should happen any moment now…”

In a panic he sounded the siren again and again, but still the fire grew and blazed with even more intensity. Within hours the entire village burned down to the ground… because, of course, the traveller had misunderstood the purpose of the siren. It wasn’t used to put out fires. It was simply a signal that directed the villagers to take positive action.

The government of the day is neither proactive nor reactive, so in one day we are saddled with headlines like—•Terrorist in new video claims to be Boko Haram member who escaped from Kuje Prison• Presidency: Military action will hurt hostages• U.S. agency: Nigeria recorded 5,222 violent killings in six months• You’ve two options, free the victims or negotiate their release, Shehu Sani tells Buhari• Northern groups fault FG over failure to tackle insecurity• Your govt has failed Nigerians, APC chieftain blasts Buhari• Nigeria’s collapse imminent if we fail to act, Gani Adams warns

Just imagine—

Irked by Federal Government’s inability to meet their demands, terrorists who kidnapped the Kaduna-Abuja train passengers on March 28, 2022, have vowed to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari and governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai if their requests are not met.

Days later, my friend Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai, told us that the president was not even aware of the threat, until he told him!

What will one say, write or rant about that has not been said before. Is it the Kuje Prisons, or the Jos Prisons attack, is it the fact that no one has sincerely been held liable or accountable for all these security breaches. Do we lament over the death of security service personnel, numbers that we are beginning to lose count of, or the fact that some of them are complicit and complaisant in the whole matter?

Do we engage the government and its spokespersons on how they have arrived at the conclusion that Nigeria is safer now than it was some 9 years ago, or that indeed we are much closer to Afghanistan in the way and manner, as non-state actors have literally taken over. How do we explain that as pedestrian as it sounds, we have spent billions in all currencies, and yet motorcycle marauding bandits have torn our security architecture apart.

That the government of the day has resorted to one week, one shock, one excuse. For the past seven years we have been deceived by the “so-called-we-would-release-the-list-of-sponsors and technical-defeat of the terrorists. Meanwhile, wanted bandits are turbaned and the state government is asked to approve millions to investigate an event that was a public show.

We pretend like it was not a while ago that the Nigerian Defence Academy was attacked or that there was an attempted robbery at the villa, did we suddenly forget all that drama of the vegetation is not similar to the vegetation in the North East when they (boko haram) shot down a fighter jet, and till date the bodies of the fighter pilots not yet found.

Terrorists ambush Brigade Guard in nation’s capital Abuja, forces closure of schools, not for the first time, this is weeks after the president’s advance team was ambushed. Kidnap victims now spend from an average of three to 200 days and more depending on the ransom demanded which range from half a million to as much as 100million or more depending. And no one is taking responsibilities, no one is held accountable.

One thing that is not debatable nor contestable is the fact that the Government is benefiting from the insecurity.

I write because I love my nation Nigeria, my essays, admonition, investigative work, and articles are a lookout tower. In the Nigerian lookout tower, the siren has sounded. If we continue to do nothing as the siren blows, in many ways, Nigeria will ultimately burn to the ground (dramatic, yet true). 

For a siren extinguishes no fires on its own. But if we listen to the siren and let it motivate us to take positive action, we can save our own life…and create a sense of purpose, peace and resolve for ourselves and those who depend on us.

The steps Nigeria needs to take next won’t be easy, but they will be worthy. We must take deliberate steps and strong ones that have what it takes to fight and extinguish even the hottest fires that burn from within. Nigeria has seen six, and should not be scared of half a dozen, leadership and followership at all levels are complicit and complaisant. There is a need for a-now-now-action or the fire will consume many of us, whether we take the decision now or take it wrongly like the traveller in our story—Only time will tell.

Contact the writer: pcdbooks@gmail.com

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